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History backs Ba

Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, June 26, 2014

IF history is anything to go by, Fiji Football giants Ba is expected to bounce back from its earlier stumble in the Vodafone Fiji FACT finals this weekend.

The Men in Black lost its opening group match to minnows Nadroga 0-1 but bounced back in style to beat Rewa 2-0 and Labasa 3-0 to finish on a high in Group A.

Ba will face defending champions Nadi in the first semi-final at 3pm followed by Suva versus Labasa decider at 5pm this Saturday at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori.

History has proven Ba is unstoppable when it comes back from the dead in tournaments. But coach Yogendra Dutt downplayed that saying it was only public perception.

"That's what the public say, that's their opinion. I don't know. We respect everybody's opinion," Dutt said.

Ba, after the shock loss to the Stallions, has been in top form against the formidable Rewa and Labasa sides.

The Roneel Kumar-skippered side may have the upper hand against Kamal Swamy-coached Nadi on paper but hasn't been successful against the Jetsetters in the past two seasons. Ba defeated Nadi in the national league and Champion versus Champion series this year after losing most of its matches to the latter last year.

Dutt said they would be working on areas of concern this week in the lead-up to the knockout stage.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Football Association is hoping to draw a good turnout in the remaining two days of the tournament despite the loss of the host team Rewa in the group stage.

Fiji FA chief executive officer Bob Kumar said they recorded an "average" turnout in the opening round of the tournament.

He said they would "hopefully" match the turnout of last year's tournament.

Kumar also said Fiji FA "pays travelling grants to teams" which would be returning to Nausori this weekend.

"We expect a good turnout this weekend. (We) ask fans to come and support their teams."

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